November 17, 2023
NEW ALBANY, OH – Last Thursday marked a milestone moment for Ohio’s pork producers, along with the rest of the state’s animal agriculture industry as officials from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) broke ground on the state-of-the-art Ohio Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL) that will replace the current Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory built in 1961.
“To see this project get to this stage is very exciting as it will give our state’s food animal industry the kind of technology and service it needs to compete in the 21st century,” said Cheryl Day, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council. “It’s also gratifying to see how OPC leadership and collaboration with other key stakeholders in our state is paying off in making this lab a reality.”
The ODA expects the main construction of the new OVDL to be mostly completed by Spring 2026 with the remainder of that year dedicated to final touches. The new lab, to be built in the Dr. Tony Forshey Animal Health Building in Reynoldsburg, will feature 40% more actual lab space than the current facility with the ability to be flexible in its future configuration. The current lab, which has undergone three renovations over the years, conducts 452,000 tests annually.
According to Jared Parko, ODA’s deputy director of laboratory programs, livestock producers will be able to drop off test samples with “no boots on the ground,” thanks to the new lab’s drive-through feature. He says this convenience with also enhance the facility’s biosecurity, which was a key component of the building’s design. Other biosecurity features include separate visitor/client entrances and drop-off area for animal mortalities.
Beyond testing for animal-only disease threats, Parko says that OVDL will also allow Ohio to be in a better position to focus on zoonotic pathogens as well, which is critical to a One Health approach to human and animal health.
About The Ohio Pork Council
The Ohio Pork Council was established in 1968, beginning with nearly 800 pig farmers dedicated to the task of promoting their own product. Currently, OPC has approximately 2,500 members. Their mission is to serve and benefit all Ohio pork producers. To learn more about the Ohio Pork Council, visit www.OhioPork.org or call 614- 882-5887.